Seth Kellogg, Birder
As you all know, Seth was for many years the mainstay of the Allen Bird Club. He served a term as president, but far more important was his work as the coordinator, over the years, of the club’s wide array of field trips. Seth himself led a staggering number of these trips, and not just in our local area. He organized overnight and weekend trips to Cape Cod, Cape Ann and Gloucester, Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, Cape May, Bombay Hook and many other birding destinations of national renown. Seth also put together and led friends on meticulously researched tours of the best birding that Colorado, California, Arizona, Texas, North Carolina and Florida have to offer, and arranged five exciting field trips to Costa Rica. He counted himself very fortunate to travel to Veracruz, Mexico, where he witnessed the sensational “River of Raptors” migration, and to The Gambia and Kenya, where he experienced an extraordinary abundance of bird life and all the quintessential wild mammals of the region.
Seth was an indefatigable birder, rising nearly every day at sunrise to see what avian wonders might greet his eyes and ears, and journaling his adventures and sightings before retiring each night. Added together, the miles he walked in forest and field, among mountains and on beaches, would no doubt crisscross the United States again and again. These solitary wanderings and the many field trips he shared with others provided the material for the hundreds of columns, “Birds of the Air,” that he wrote for The Springfield Republican from 1998 to 2018. His skill as a birder was legendary, both for finding and for identifying birds. His ability to identify members of that notoriously challenging cohort, the shorebirds, was unmatched.
Hawkwatching held a special place in Seth’s birding heart. One of the pioneers in raptor migration data analysis, he edited hawkwatch site reports for the Hawk Migration Association of North America and the NorthEast Hawk Watch. For decades, Seth worked tirelessly to compile and analyze seasonal site tables from across the continent long before computers became available to simplify the task. In 1993, HMANA recognized Seth's unique contributions with the Maurice Broun Award, honoring individuals “who have made outstanding, long-term, or major contributions to HMANA and its goals.” In 2003, HMANA again recognized Seth's continuing contributions to the field and to the association, as well as the NorthEast Hawk Watch, by presenting him with HMANA's highest honor, the Joseph Taylor Award for “heroic contributions above and beyond the call of duty.” Seth was the moving spirit behind the creation of the Blueberry Hill hawk watch. To this day, his fellow raptorphiles can never see a hawk or eagle soaring far overhead at the Hill without hearing in their mind’s ear Seth’s exclamation, “They’re going high!”
Now Seth too has “gone high,” to join the company of the birds of the air. Or as the Greek songwriter and poet Manos Hadjidakis put it:
He has gone away, into the blue sky
Like a bird happy and free at last;
And when his soul left him
A nightingale somewhere sang.
Remembrance from Paul Roberts with the NorthEast Hawk Migration Report.
MassLive obituary published Friday, October 15, 2021.
Allen Bird Club
Hawk Migration Association of North America hmana.org